"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA

ORGANISED POGROM
AGAINST TAMILS - 1977

"A tragedy is taking place in Sri Lanka: the political conflict following upon the recent elections, is turning into a racial massacre. It is estimated by reliable sources that between 250 and 300 Tamil citizens have lost their lives and over 40,000 made homeless...(The Tamils) have now lost confidence in their treatment by the Sinhalese majority and are calling for a restoration of their separate national status...

At a time when the West is wake to the evils of racialism, the racial persecution of the Tamils and denial of their human rights should not pass without protest. The British have a special obligation to protest, as these cultivated people were put at the mercy of their neighbours less than thirty years ago by the British Government. They need our attention and support." - Sir John Foster, David Astor, Louis Blom-Cooper, Dingle Foot, Robert Birley, James Fawcett, Michael Scott, London Times 20 September 1977


"...The trouble (in 1977) began in Jaffna, capital of the Northern province, when Sinhala policemen, believed to have been loyal to the defeated Sri Lanka Freedom Party of Mrs. Bandaranike, acted provocatively by bursting into a Tamil carnival. In the violent altercation that followed the police opened fire and four people were killed. A wave of rioting followed, spreading quickly to the south.

Among 1,500 people arrested were several well known Sinhalese extremists, accused of instigating violence against Tamils. Martin Wollacott reported in the Guardian from Sri Lanka (27 August 1977): 'It looks very much as if disgruntled Freedom Party leaders in many places saw an opportunity to embarrass the government and with the collusion of some Freedom Party police appointees and of local gangsters, organised and encouraged the attacks on the Tamils'..." - Walter Schwarz: Tamils of Sri Lanka, Minority Rights Group Report 1983


" The outbreak in mid-August (1977) of the anti-Tamil pogrom (the third such outbreak in two decades) has brought out the reality that the Tamil minority problem in Sri Lanka has remained unresolved now for nearly half a century, leading to the emergence of a separatist movement among the Tamils. As on previous occasions, what took place recently was not Sinhalese – Tamil riots, but an anti-Tamil pogrom. Although Sinhalese were among the casualties, the large majority of those killed, maimed and seriously wounded are Tamils. The victims of the widespread looting are largely Tamils. And among those whose shops and houses were destroyed, the Tamils are the worst sufferers. Of the nearly 75,000 refugees, the very large majority were Tamils, including Indian Tamil plantation workers..."  Behind the Anti-Tamil Terror: The National Question in Sri Lanka - Edmund Samarakkody in Workers Vanguard (New York), No. 176, Oct.7, 1977, pp.6-7 & 10]  

 

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